Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 25, 1894

Testimony Concerning Economy.

Per Ardua, Williams St., Granville, New South Wales, Australia

April 23, 1894

This manuscript is published in entirety in HM 12/1894. +Note

Last night I seemed to be in an assembly of our people, and the subject to be presented was that of the opening of new fields, “the regions beyond,” that have not yet heard the sound of the third angel’s message. [2 Corinthians 10:16.] The standard of truth is to be uplifted in cities, towns and villages. The truth is to be carried into the highways and hedges, and all classes are to hear the gospel. Earnest prayer was offered to God for His counsel and guidance. The Spirit of the Lord was present, and deep solemnity rested upon all. I related that which the Lord presented before me in warning and counsel while I resided at Preston. The Spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I was deeply moved under its influence. I presented before those who were assembled the necessity of all our laborers working in unity with one mind and one judgment. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 1

A great work is to be accomplished in this country, and ministers and people will need to study carefully the principles of economy. Ministers and their wives are compelled to take leading positions, but they must be faithful sentinels over themselves, in order that imaginary wants shall not lead them to an extravagant expenditure of means. It will be necessary for every one connected with the cause to practice strict economy, so that every penny that can be spared from their income, may be used to advance the work of God. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 2

This testimony was presented before me in clear lines, and is applicable not only to Australia and New Zealand, but also to America. The people of God are continually receiving of His bounties, and they should understand that all these rich favors come through Jesus Christ alone, who is the Sin-bearer for our world. It was through self-denial and humiliation that Jesus Christ purchased our redemption, for He lived not to please Himself. The self-denial of Christ calls for beneficent action on our part. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 3

If we represent the character of Christ, every particle of selfishness must be expelled from the soul. In carrying forward the work He gave to our hands, it will be necessary for us to give every jot and tittle of our means that we can spare. Poverty and distress in families will come to our knowledge, and afflicted and suffering ones will have to be relieved. We know very little of the human suffering that exists everywhere about us, but as we have opportunity, we should be ready to render immediate assistance to those who are under a severe pressure. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 4

We should invest means in sending the gospel to the poor, in aiding those who have ventured by faith to take their position upon the platform of eternal truth, when by so doing they have placed themselves in an embarrassing situation. Where there are cases of especial need, [the] ministers must be prepared to relieve those who are in poverty for the truth’s sake. There should not be a careless expenditure of means simply because they have it on hand, tying it up in some investment so that it cannot be utilized when needed. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 5

I said, I have been perplexed to know how we may help those who are doing their best to live and to keep the commandments of God. God calls upon us to bind about our wants, to have a genuine experience in daily self-denial; although we may not be compelled to restrict our appetites, we should show that we do not live to eat, but eat to live. God demands a complete consecration of ourselves, soul, body and spirit, to His service. Time is precious, strength is precious, no member of the family should be over-taxed because of unnecessary labor, and thus [be] disqualified to serve God and to keep his or her own soul in the love of God. The Lord demands that we shall live simply. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 6

Our diet is not to consist of expensive food, or of unnecessary dishes which require time and strength for preparation. It is profitable for us to consider the time in which we are living. We shall be called upon to engage in enterprises that will work for the salvation of the souls of men, women, and children. We must do this work in the spirit which Christ exercised in His mission, fulfilling the word of God. These words have been kept before me for several nights: “He that will come after me, (follow in My footsteps) let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. So shall he be my disciple.” [See Mark 8:34.] 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 7

When the Lord sees that we are copying our Model in spirit and action and doing our best for the advancement of the cause, then the Lord will be our treasure of resources. New fields are to be entered, and if the work advances into these new fields, then every one who loves Jesus will have to act a part in personal self-denial. The work cannot be done by a few bearing the burden, and others have no experience in burden-bearing, and yet all partaker of the favor of God. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] If everyone had a Christian experience after the self-denying order that Christ has enjoined, we should see far less selfish indulgence, we should see men and women giving themselves to the Lord and working in their positions of trust as the Lord would have them, practicing the self-denial and self-sacrifice which we see in our Redeemer. This is the will of God concerning us. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 8

We should heed the words of the apostle Paul when he said, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” [Romans 12:1.] Those who receive the mercies of God should have a disposition to respond to them. All things belong to God; all the good things which we enjoy are the results of divine love. God is the bountiful Giver. In His large love He has given Jesus Christ, heaven’s best gift, and how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? In His tender mercy and unspeakable love, He has not only provided for the wants of the soul, but has also not been forgetful to provide for the necessities of our bodies. He has made us His almoners, and has bestowed upon us His gifts, reserving tithes and offerings for the advancement of His work. He does not ask us to give these things because He could not get along without them, for He owns all things; but He reserves them for Himself in order to give us, as His stewards, an opportunity to follow His example. He has given us the greatest gift He could possibly make, a gift of infinite value, so that it could not be said He could give a greater gift. In return He asks that those who have been recipients of such great love should render back to Him a portion of that which He has given them, in order that “there may be meat in mine house.” [Malachi 3:10.] He pronounces the withholding of that which He has reserved as robbery toward Himself. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 9

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Verses 8-12.] 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 10

Those who do not return to the Lord a portion of His entrusted goods will be written in the heavenly records as embezzlers of the Lord’s property. The almost empty treasury of the Lord’s house testifies against those who have been remiss in their duty in paying to the Lord His own. They are not in a happy spiritual condition, and never can be, no matter what their assertions may profess. “Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” [Verses 13-15.] 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 11

The Lord would have everyone acknowledge that He is the rightful owner of all the goods which He has lent us to trade upon. He says to us, Render back to me the tithes and gifts and offerings, as a token of your loyalty to me, and of your dependence upon me, and I will bless you, and you shall be channels of blessing. Your gratitude offerings will be a token of your sense of obligation to me. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 12

The gratitude that ends simply in words has no particular value, for faith is made perfect by works, and without works your profession of faith is of no worth. God is continually giving, and the human agent is continually receiving. When we become weary of returning to the Lord His own, His blessing will be withheld from us. As long as we are dependent upon God’s bounty, our obligations to render gratitude offerings to Him are upon us. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 13

Much was presented in the council which I cannot write out this morning. The question was asked, What will we do when we have not a surplus of means? I said, What will you feel it your duty to do when cases of necessity are continually arising where financial help is demanded? I said, I will dispense with butter from my table. This curtailment of expense cannot even be called a sacrifice to our family for we have an abundance to satisfy every want without butter. We have plenty of good milk, fruit, and bread. I have already consecrated my table. I have freed it from all flesh meats. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 14

It is better for physical and mental soundness to refrain from living upon the flesh of animals. As far as possible we are to come back to God’s original plan. From henceforth my table shall be free from the flesh of dead animals, and devoid of those things <in desserts> which take much time and strength to prepare. We may use fruit freely, and in different ways, and run no risk of incurring the diseases that are incurred by using the flesh of diseased animals. We should bring our appetite under control, so that we shall enjoy plain, wholesome food, and have an abundance of it, that none may suffer hunger. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 15

Time and strength and money have been frittered away simply for the gratification of taste, and yet all we have belongs to God, and is to be used for His glory. It is time that as families, and as a people, we should teach, by precept and example, how to be economical, self-denying, watchful and prayerful. We must lift the cross and follow Jesus. Our table should be a constant educator and enlightener to others on account of its healthfulness and simplicity. We shall accomplish far more good in all lines of our work, if we live out the truth that we preach. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 16

That which brings the highest satisfaction to heavenly intelligences is engaging in the work of bringing the invitation of mercy to those for whom Christ has given His life. Those who claim to love God and keep His commandments are to be good and to do good. We are to manifest tact and discretion, and be sure that we make such an outlay of means as will work for the greatest good of those whom Christ has purchased with His own blood. The truth will not go to those who are nigh, and to those who are far off, unless every man, woman and child shall practice strict economy in all their expenditures, and consecrate that which they can save to the advancement of the work of God. 9LtMs, Ms 25, 1894, par. 17